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May 18, 2016 1:45 PM, EDT

Industry-Backed Truck Parking App to Go Live in August

WASHINGTON — American Trucking Associations, the National Association of Truck Stop Operators, the American Transportation Research Institute and the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance announced May 18 Park My Truck, a free mobile truck-parking app that should be available in August. The kickoff event was held in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill.

Lisa Mullings, president of NATSO, which is paying to develop the app, said drivers will be able to download the app that will enable them to find available truck parking at commercial truck stops and state-provided rest areas in the 48 continental states.

“Professional drivers are essential to our economy and our way of life in America,” Mullings said. “Their safety and security are a major priority.”

ATRI Vice President Dan Murray noted the dearth of truck parking was the No. 2 issue on the organization’s most recent list of top issues in the industry.

Rep. Bill Shuster, chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said, “We do have a shortage of parking spaces out there, [but] maybe not as much as we think. But this technology will help us [keep trucks] from parking on the side of an interstate or a ramp.”

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, who noted the importance of available parking to truck drivers, termed Park My Truck, “A perfect example of a public-private partnership because [the federal government] had to pay for the study.”

Rep. Paul Tomko’s constituent, Jason Rivenburg, was the driver whose murder in 2009 at an abandoned South Carolina gas station inspired “Jason’s Law.” That tragedy inspired Tomko to become involved in the issue of safe truck parking.

“Access to safe and accessible rest stops can be a life-or-death issue as I unfortunately learned during my first term in office,” Tomko said. “Truckers deserve safety, nothing less.”

ATA President Bill Graves said the hunt for parking spaces causes “sheer frustration” for drivers and called Park My Truck “an important step in the right direction” for their safety.

Graves also noted that many more trucks are expected to be on the road as the economy expands and the population grows during the coming years.

Of course, making parking easier to find also will help keep drivers from cutting their shifts short in order to avoid violating federal hours-of-service rules.

“The utilization of the equipment is precious,” Graves said. “The fuel they’re burning is precious. Getting the cargo safely to and from wherever it’s supposed to be going is precious. Being able to more efficiently find parking is an important contributor to a more efficient supply chain.”

CVSA Executive Director Collin Mooney said his organization is “interested in making it easier for truckers to find parking to get the rest they need to operate safely instead of being an obstruction on our roadways.”